Russian court upholds arrest for suspected US spy Paul Whelan

Posted at 1:04 PM, Mar 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-14 13:04:32-04

MOSCOW (AP/WXYZ) — A Russian court has upheld an earlier ruling to keep a former U.S. Marine in a Moscow jail for three more months as he faces espionage charges.

Michigan resident Paul Whelan, who also holds British, Irish and Canadian citizenship, was arrested in a hotel room in the Russian capital at the end of December.

The Moscow City Court on Thursday upheld the ruling that ordered keeping Whelan in jail at least until the end of May.

During the hearing, Whelan was visibly agitated, saying he couldn't answer questions to the media, and asking for a translator to understand what was going on.

"Do you know where I am? Do you know what prison I'm in? Whelan said.

A woman asked him about the conditions in prison. "They are the sort of conditions in a place like that," he replied.

Whelan’s lawyer has said his client was handed a flash drive which had on it classified information he didn’t know about. He confirmed on Thursday that Whelan is accused of spying for the United States.

A spying conviction in Russia carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.